Back in December, a friend of mine hits me and another Jeep gal up and says his Jeep club is looking at going to Silver Lake Sand Dunes the first weekend of June for the Jeep Invasion. I remember thinking, wow, we’re talking six months out…planning a Jeep/camping weekend that far out seems a bit excessive. I didn’t realize that in the end there would be over 800 Jeeps at this invasion.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes is between Muskegon and Ludington, Michigan; about two and a half hours, maybe three, up the Lake Michigan coast line.
Randomly over the next 6 months we would discuss a few things, who was bringing what for camping. Splitting the cost of the campsite. Who need Dunes flags and all the random things that go into planning any kind of small group trip. I didn’t fully realize the extensive work that my buddy “D” or Dimitri was putting into bringing his club up.
A quick side note….. You can see more of D’s club here: Windy City Jeep Force Which, I’m gonna brag a hot minute on D’s crew. I seriously could not have had a better time with this rag-tag band of awesome-saused group. Everyone was very welcoming, and the longer Jackie and I were around them the better things got. I highly recommend if you are in their area and get a chance to do meet n’ greet or hit a trail with ’em, DO IT.
The week arrived and text messages back and forth were regular as excitement built until Friday morning arrived and my boys were dropped off at the vet for boarding. My friend Jacki and D were already on the road; Jackie solo because she was driving up from Detroit. D was in a convoy of 50 some Jeeps coming out of the greater Chicago area, and their final pit stop before heading to camp in Mears, Michigan, was where Jackie and I were planning on jumping in.
Then it was off to set up our camp sites and head to registration, frankly that part could have been skipped. We stood in a forever and a day line, to get a frisbee and a koozie. Actually, it was to register your Jeep for voting, which if I would have known, I would of skipped. There was some amazing rigs there, but Lady Jaye is no where near me dropping that much money into her. Which I have mass respect for those that put that kind of work into their Jeeps. It is truly an art form.
The next morning consist of a hangover, campfire coffee with bacon and eggs and some badass company. Before dropping tire pressure and 50 Jeeps being organized to roll out to the Dunes. Which ended up being in at least two different groups. The first group wanted to do the parade through town, the group Jackie and I stayed with, skipped the parade and went straight for the Dunes. In truth, this meant we got to attempt to sleep in a little longer -which, with as late as we were up enjoying adult beverages and fellow Jeepers company, the sleeping in was a bit more important.
Once out at the Dunes, the line up of Windy City Jeeps sat for maybe 5 minutes before the first Jeep attempted the “test hill.” Watching the first Jeep just narrowly miss getting over the crest of the hill, I looked at the Jeep to my right, our neighbor at the campsite. She chuckled, looked down at her FitBit watch and said, “I’m just sitting here looking at this hill and my heartbeat is at 120!” That pretty much summed up how everyone was feeling, excitement and mass amounts of adrenaline.
I was riding shotgun to Wampa, Jackie’s rig; we ended up moving down 3 hills before Jackie got a LOOK on her face and a gleem in here eye. Yep, this means we’re taking it on! And Wampa did an awesome job gliding right up, both of us hooted and hollered in the rush of cresting the hill. The second hill was very similar…however the third hill would put Jackie into Windy City lore…. I believe I can fly
Don’t worry, Wampa is fine. She was checked over on site and continued on for an hour or two before hitting a few “puddles.” Which anyone who has been on the Dunes knows those puddles can be deceiving and the general rule… don’t drive where you can’t see the bottom, or you haven’t seen another Jeep go. Well, Wampa got a little deep and we had to pull drain plugs. However, the running joke was renaming her sWampa. “I’m watching Wampa get a little deep and then OH SHIT….brakes!! She rolls out and no joke, I’m just waiting for fish to come flopping out of all that water”
After getting Wampa safely back to camp, it was time for a late lunch; where Jackie and I learned D, who had never camped before, makes for one hell of a campfire cook. Washed down with lazy hammocks in a perfect summer Saturday and lots of laughter.
Saturday late afternoon was set for a local trail ride… The pictures don’t even do it justice, largely because it was growing dark as we were finishing the trail.
Sunday morning was set for more Dunes and then the Jeep Blessing, which more than a few of us skipped. Opting instead for a lazy campfire breakfast…which was quiet the feast thanks to D. Slowly breaking down camp and packing up, before heading to air tires back up and take our time saying good bye and heading back to the real world…. Ya know what, more like heading back to the average normal adult world. Because this is my real world, this is my real life.
It was sad to see the weekend come to an end, but driving home a mud caked Lady Jaye had me in the best of spirits. I even drove her to work, which we all know that first day back after a great weekend can be a little rough. My Monday was no exception, hit with the reality of work and being an adult again, however when I walked outta work at 5pm and I hit the road in that glorious muddy girl…. Yea, being an adult isn’t always so bad.